Translation and publication of the book "The rhythm is liturgy"

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1. Title

Rhythm is liturgy. A provocative title worthy of interest to the extent that the concept of rhythm has not always been grasped in its entirety. Often it is simply associated with the sounds of drums and the arithmetic subdivision associated with it. Yet, common language employs it wrapped in another sense, which - at this point - pushes towards a particular understanding of it: the pace of work, the pace of life, the pace of a game, etc. This is a meaning that, well beyond the arithmetic subdivision of the rhythm, concerns the intensity and fervor of an activity while, applied to a song and to music for example, the rhythm mainly induces the musical tempo of 2/4, 3 / 4 etc.

Applied to any celebration, especially the Eucharistic one, the rhythm begins to indicate its simple course more than its true intensity and fervor. It is limited to an external observation which records a technical and organizational aspect on the part of those who explore it; an unfolding of a given phenomenon.

With the title of: "Rhythm is liturgy", the manual to be presented awakens in a provocative invitation to advance in even deeper waters not only of the rhythmic meaning, but also and above all of its concrete energetic, organizer and harmonizer work. In other words, it is a question of achieving what rhythm does and is capable of doing, when it is used as a living, as life, vital and vitalizing. With the title of “rhythm is Liturgy”, the final horizon understood as the goal to be reached is the demonstration of how the living rhythm in the liturgy is the liturgy itself. 

2. Interest

Reaching the previous final shore would lead to attention to the rhythmic - vital and vitalizing care of the celebration without which one would fall into a simply repetitive mechanism of rites, gestures and words, without ever reaching both life and its rhythm that pulsate there. inside, true meanings of the celebration itself. Within a celebration and at its base there is an event inherent to the lived life. Its truth is not only concerned with the experience that took place there, dragging its subsequent course with it; he is also keen to relive the aforementioned event in revitalizing the subsequent harmonic cadence of the experience. 
Therefore, the rhythm of the celebration and that of the life to which it belongs - when it is not enclosed in the unilaterally mental and arithmetic sphere - is its life itself. 

3. Public

We would like to bring the student and popular public to the previous center of interest, drawing its attention to the inherent auspices of the Second Vatican Council in the liturgical sphere. To participate actively, consciously and totally in the liturgy - and this is what we want to emphasize - is to wrap oneself up, to involve oneself, body and mind, in its rhythm, which is its truth and life. Grasping the rhythm from this perspective means grasping its dynamism in the singular and collective, personal and community subject.  

4. Result

From the foregoing, the rhythm as dusted off, studied and proposed in this manual - in the Work of Creation, in that of Redemption but also in the various anthropological and socio-cultural works (such as singing and music) - grants the entire book to offer revitalizing and revitalized liturgical information, formation and participation. The liturgical celebration can only draw the benefit of being even more lively and dynamic in view of an integral and total participation. Such an ambitious goal explains the project of translation of this precious theological and liturgical instrument into various other languages ​​of which Italian is among the first.

5. Necessity

While the author has personally committed himself to the costs of publishing the entire manual in French, for the translation of the book (in Italian, English and Spanish) the translator asks 2000.00 euros for the translation and the publishing house would like 2000.00 for publication. 

Preface

To dance the liturgy to the rhythm of the Second Vatican Council.
A research on "rhythm" as the supporting structure of the Christian liturgy is the fruit of an inevitably and providentially complex mediation. It is the work of an African theologian, who reflects on the Christian tradition, to which he belongs, but does so through the traditional African culture, which has structured his vision of the world, of life and of the God of Jesus Christ. We could say that this work, with all its virtues and within its limits, is the fruit of a "new reading of tradition" that an African, baptized, priest and theologian, can lead thanks to "his" tradition. Belonging to the one Catholic Church, starting from the new synthesis offered by the Second Vatican Council, he can self-interpret, as a believer, thanks to "his own language", "his body", "his own culture", "his own music", at "own pace". We had always known, in some way, that "rhythm" is the fundamental structure of the liturgy. But only an African, a man born and raised in the social and family rhythms of the African continent, could theorize "rhythm" as a liturgy. Here lies a fundamental passage and thus a blind spot in the European gaze can be renewed. This rhythmic vision of the rite, with all its transgressive force, is also a gesture of love for tradition, which this new rhythmic perspective helps to reconstruct in a richer and more truthful way: it is the fruit of a slow and demanding journey, which it has in the Second Vatican Council its point of origin and its "matrix", its horizon and its condition of possibility. But only an African, a man born and raised in the social and family rhythms of the African continent, could theorize "rhythm" as a liturgy. Here lies a fundamental passage and thus a blind spot in the European gaze can be renewed. This rhythmic vision of the rite, with all its transgressive force, is also a gesture of love for tradition, which this new rhythmic perspective helps to reconstruct in a richer and more truthful way: it is the fruit of a slow and demanding journey, which it has in the Second Vatican Council its point of origin and its "matrix", its horizon and its condition of possibility. But only an African, a man born and raised in the social and family rhythms of the African continent, could theorize "rhythm" as a liturgy. Here lies a fundamental passage and thus a blind spot in the European gaze can be renewed. This rhythmic vision of the rite, with all its transgressive force, is also a gesture of love for tradition, which this new rhythmic perspective helps to reconstruct in a richer and more truthful way: it is the fruit of a slow and demanding journey, which it has in the Second Vatican Council its point of origin and its "matrix", its horizon and its condition of possibility. Here lies a fundamental passage and thus a blind spot in the European gaze can be renewed. This rhythmic vision of the rite, with all its transgressive force, is also a gesture of love for tradition, which this new rhythmic perspective helps to reconstruct in a richer and more truthful way: it is the fruit of a slow and demanding journey, which it has in the Second Vatican Council its point of origin and its "matrix", its horizon and its condition of possibility. Here lies a fundamental passage and thus a blind spot in the European gaze can be renewed. This rhythmic vision of the rite, with all its transgressive force, is also a gesture of love for tradition, which this new rhythmic perspective helps to reconstruct in a richer and more truthful way: it is the fruit of a slow and demanding journey, which it has in the Second Vatican Council its point of origin and its "matrix", its horizon and its condition of possibility.

Already in the first words that marked it, that Council, precisely in the inaugural speech Gaudet Mater Ecclesia of Pope John XXIII, was able to distinguish between "the substance of the ancient doctrine of the depositum fidei" and "the formulation of its covering". This distinction not only says the pastoral nature of the Council, but also briefly proclaims its method: to access the nourishing substance of tradition not only can we, but we must pass through courageous “reformulations of the coating”. This is not only the sufficient motivation to set up a "reform" of the rites, but it is also the justification and enhancement of the plurality of forms and coverings, which the Church not only "can" but "must" endow itself with. This reading, mediated by the text of Sacrosanctum Concilium, it opened a new look on all the languages ​​of the liturgy. We could say: every language must be recognized as a "formulation of a coating", which is understood as constitutive for the custody of the "depositum". Thus, to pass on the depositum one must be open, curious, audacious. And carefully integrate the new traditions, precisely to respect the authority of the oldest. Indeed, the authority of the old ones consists precisely in opening ourselves to the new ones. It is the rhythm that cannot fail to renew itself. The new languages, the new forms of expression, the new cultures thus become an "ecclesial norm". Thus the Church recognizes that it must be, at the same time, "retro" and "ante" prudent. And he opens up to "the whole phenomenal man" (Paul VI). which is taken as constitutive for the custody of the "depositum". Thus, to pass on the depositum one must be open, curious, audacious. And carefully integrate the new traditions, precisely to respect the authority of the oldest. Indeed, the authority of the old ones consists precisely in opening ourselves to the new ones. It is the rhythm that cannot fail to renew itself. The new languages, the new forms of expression, the new cultures thus become an "ecclesial norm". Thus the Church recognizes that it must be, at the same time, "retro" and "ante" prudent. And he opens up to "the whole phenomenal man" (Paul VI). which is taken as constitutive for the custody of the "depositum". Thus, to pass on the depositum one must be open, curious, audacious. And carefully integrate the new traditions, precisely to respect the authority of the oldest. Indeed, the authority of the old ones consists precisely in opening ourselves to the new ones. It is the rhythm that cannot fail to renew itself. The new languages, the new forms of expression, the new cultures thus become an "ecclesial norm". Thus the Church recognizes that it must be, at the same time, "retro" and "ante" prudent. And he opens himself to "the whole phenomenal man" (Paul VI). the authority of the old ones consists precisely in opening ourselves to the new ones. It is the rhythm that cannot fail to renew itself. The new languages, the new forms of expression, the new cultures thus become an "ecclesial norm". Thus the Church recognizes that it must be, at the same time, "retro" and "ante" prudent. And he opens up to "the whole phenomenal man" (Paul VI). the authority of the old ones consists precisely in opening ourselves to the new ones. It is the rhythm that cannot fail to renew itself. The new languages, the new forms of expression, the new cultures thus become an "ecclesial norm". Thus the Church recognizes that it must be, at the same time, "retro" and "ante" prudent. And he opens up to "the whole phenomenal man" (Paul VI).

The encounter between God and man, which every ritual action carries out, is above all a delicate rhythmic event. Having discovered this ancient truth hidden in the folds of tradition and re-proposing it as a concrete operative way to the Church of today and tomorrow is the no small merit of this volume. Which is a child book of the Second Vatican Council, of which it bears the mark of fidelity to God and man, to transcendence and immanence, to the already and not yet. In the rhythm, audacity and patience kiss, solemnity and simplicity join hands. A studied and rediscovered liturgy “sub specie rhythmi” constitutes a very promising horizon of study and action. It is first of all for those who want to walk following in the footsteps of the Second Vatican Council, which taught us to consider not only all verbal languages ​​"holy",

This strong word, which opened the way to the enhancement of the “actuosa participatio” as a fundamental rule of the liturgical action, was recently renewed in the short but intense text of Pope Francis with a very significant title: Magnum principium. The principle that this text wants to reaffirm, in order to better orient the questions concerning the "translation of liturgical texts", is none other than the key principle of the Second Vatican Council, that is, the "universal competence" of all the baptized over action ritual. This principle makes it possible to enhance, in a new way, the specificity of "each language", according to the criterion so well expressed:
 
"fideliter communicandum est certain populo per eiusdem linguam id, quod Ecclesia alii populo per Latinam linguam communicare voluit."

This criterion of a good translation, which we could call the principle of “dynamic correspondences”, is valid not only for verbal languages, but also for non-verbal languages. This "great principle" reopens the games of different linguistic, musical, artistic, spatial, temporal and expressive cultures. It rediscovers the ancient truth that the "vital rhythms" are elementary languages, of which the Christian liturgy must be rich and resplendent.

In the light of the conciliar text of 1963, powerfully renewed in the new text of the Motu proprio of 2017, the volume by Pierre Kabongo performs a precious function: it concretely demonstrates the goodness of the conciliar perspective and coherently develops a possibility. In other words, that of recovering, starting from an in-depth notion of "rhythm", not only a vision of worship and rite, but also a reading of anthropology and Christian theology. There is, in this bold reinterpretation, an interesting synthesis of two strands of "ecclesial knowledge":

- on the one hand, a “theory of rhythm” is proposed which makes this basic language of musical experience a completely transversal “vital code”;
- on the other hand, that “culture of rhythm” is elaborated which the African continent has generated for centuries in its children and which permeates accents and marks the whole of existence.
Thus, from this angle, we can read the entire ritual tradition as a “rhythmic wisdom”, which wisely composes human and divine, visible and invisible, life and death, past and future. The liturgy is essentially a communicated, participatory and contagious rhythm. If rhythm is the "foundation of every accent", it is the most fundamental sense of ritual expression.

The structure of the volume significantly indicates the audacity of this synthesis: theological, anthropological, cultural and liturgical levels follow one another and illuminate each other. The analysis of the “Zairean rite” brings the work to completion, but also relaunches it, as a model for other traditions. In a Church that is once again taking on the seriousness of the task of "inculturation" - above all with regard to the rites of the Amazon region - this volume can be the tangible sign of a path that Africa has made possible, but whose virtuality is open to every continent. Even to the European one.

Rhythm as liturgy and the liturgy of rhythm are the original window that this work opens on tradition, courageously taking it as the hermeneutic criterion of the entire Christian cult. This obviously requires a profound rethinking of the category and its role, which is somehow inaugurated here. Every musical event is, above all, a rhythmic event. Every musical performance - a Gregorian antiphon, a communion chant, a Bach gavotta or a Mozart rondo - is, first of all, a rhythm. Before, below, at the bottom of every melody, harmony, timbre, there is the irresistible power of a rhythm. The same happens for every liturgical expression. Whose rhythm, when it becomes aware ecclesial and personal language, 

Andrea Grillo
Roma

Priest: 
Don Pierre Kabongo

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